PHILADELPHIA, PA — The ABIM Foundation announced a new effort today aimed at increasing physicians’ awareness of their role as stewards of America’s health care resources and providing them with tools they can use to improve quality and reduce unnecessary spending.
The goal of the effort, “Choosing Wisely,” is to spur national physician organizations, purchasers, hospitals, payers, practicing physicians and patients to think and talk about overused or misused tests and procedures that provide little benefit—and potential harm—at unnecessary cost. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, national health care expenditures are projected to increase from 17.3 percent of nation’s GDP in 2011 to 19.3 percent in 2019. In real dollars, this equates to an increase of $4,700 per year in health expenditures for every American, bringing the total to $13,387 annually . The topic will be the focus of the organization’s efforts for the next several years and will be the featured topic of the annual ABIM Foundation Forum, a senior-level discussion convened every summer to advance important health care initiatives.
The campaign and the Forum draw on the commitments and principles at the heart of Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter. Authored by the ABIM Foundation, in partnership with the American College of Physicians Foundation and the European Federation of Internal Medicine, the Physician Charter promotes the primacy of patient welfare, patient autonomy and social justice. It also articulates the professional responsibilities of physicians, including a commitment to improving quality and access to care, advocating for a just and cost-effective distribution of finite resources and maintaining trust by managing conflicts of interest.
“Delivering quality health care requires making decisions that take into consideration the best evidence available and the specific needs of patients, while at the same time recognizing that some choices are costly and provide no benefit and may in some cases cause harm to the patient,” said Christine K. Cassel, MD, president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABIM Foundation. “Through this effort, we will help physicians have conversations with their patients about the complex situations they face and provide guidance on how to make wise choices about their health.”
The ABIM Foundation is engaging organizations representing physicians to hold discussions about how their members can work with patients to improve care and reduce unnecessary tests and procedures. The organization will commission new research, provide practical examples of physicians being effective stewards of resources and offer a toolkit for physicians to use to discuss wise use of resources with patients.
The 2011 ABIM Foundation Forum, “Choosing Wisely: The Responsibility of Physicians, Patients and the Health Care Community to Build a Sustainable System” is an invitation-only meeting of 150 of the most influential leaders in medicine and health care held every summer. Princeton University professor, Uwe Reinhardt, PhD, one of nation’s leading authorities on health care economics, will deliver the prestigious Kimball Lecture, given in honor of Harry Kimball, MD, ABIM and ABIM Foundation CEO from 1991-2003. Dr. Reinhardt will speak on the unsustainable growth of health care resource use in the United States and present possible solutions participants can advance to address the issue.